Brad Thorson, a former college football player who briefly trained with the Arizona Cardinals, came out as gay in a personal blog post this weekend.
Thorson left football in 2011 for a career in business after first playing college football at both Wisconsin and Kansas, then signing with the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent. Though he never played in a regular season game with the Cardinals, he says that spending so much time in a hyper-masculine, often homophobic environment impeded his ability to be open about his identity.
Here’s some of what he wrote:
I’m also an athlete. For years, I struggled to unite these two identities in my own mind. Not until after my professional athletic career came to an end did I allow myself to understand my sexuality. Now, three years later, I’m finally ready to share that with people.
If not for the strength of athletes like Jason Collins, Michael Sam, and Brian Sims, I would likely still be struggling with my own cognitive dissonance. Each of their stories reinforced the truth that there is nothing wrong with being a competitive athlete and gay. Just as their stories helped me come to understand and accept myself, I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I hope to help someone else to understand his or her identity as a gay athlete.
Powerful stuff. Congrats, Brad!